75 years of 2cv, 25 years of 2cv Garage
The 2cv is celebrating this year; it was introduced 75 years ago at the Paris Motor Show. We are celebrating a bit, because 25 years ago we started the 2CV garage! We have made a timeline of the entire period in which we reminisce, take a look…
When we finished studying we got a bigger budget. First a mint green 2cv, my mother still drives that. Then a red Dyane, a grey Ami 6 Break, a Vert Palmeraie 2cv6 with that great upholstery and a few more followed.
In Amsterdam we couldn't leave them all on the street and we thought it would be a shame to get rid of the old one if we had found a new one. Uncle Henk once again knew what to do. With him and my parents we rented an old barn in the East of Holland. It filled up pretty quickly...
To keep the hobby somewhat affordable, in addition to my work as a supervisor at a housing company, I ocassionaly repaired a car. Sometimes I sold one of our own if I could improve the collection. Since '97 we had a garage at home, just big enough for a 2cv. Until, next to my work shoes, a blue envelope fell on the mat. The tax authorities found that I had a company with all those registration transfers and imposed a tax assessment with a fine. An accountant smiled at it and asked if I really didn't mean it as a business or if I secretly wanted to have my own garage. Well, good question. Long story short, a Chamber of Commerce registration followed and the accountant managed to convert the additional tax into a positive balance. The starting signal had been given. Because I had actually been dreaming of a 2cvgarage for a while. After my studies, before I started working in my field of study, I worked at a garage in Amsterdam, learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Hanneke and I were tired of Amsterdam, were looking for a living environment on a different scale to raise our small children and were also ready for the next step professionally. After making a business plan and considering moving to France (buying cars) and the North of Groningen (large farm for little money), the choice fell on the Zaan region. Close to the city and therefore the potential customers and far enough away from city life. The new-build house with garage was exchanged for a classic house without a garage.
The business premises for Eendengarage Sander Aalderink were found on the Eendrachtstraat in Wormer. 120m2 where the R4 club was previously located. Enough space for a lift, cars and a warehouse above, which we still had to build. We also had quite a bit of space outside. And a great view over the polder.
Gradually more and more customers came, although it was a bit lonely at first after years in a heavily populated office. I also did a lot of welding work for colleagues and brought in more and more 2CVs from abroad.
After a few colleagues said that 2CVs were not suitable for use for events, I decided otherwise. Marc founded Ducktrail, set up shop around the corner and we got the order for the first 10 cars. In the end there were more than 50, in various colors and models. Even a considerably extended limo 2CV is part of the fleet. And we still happily work together, nowadays as neighbors across the street.
In 2002, Edwin had only just started his collection, the cars were still in a shed. But he wanted more and together we brought a large number of masterpieces from all over the world to North Holland. And we still do that. We enjoy cars with wonderful stories the most. Because they are unique as a model, because of their adventures with previous owners, how we found them or because they’re almost new. After the shed, the cars moved to Winkel in an old Citroën garage and have now been in the most beautiful museum in Andijk for a few years.
In addition to all 2CVs as the factory intended them, we also received increasing demand for custom-made models and we restored more and more. This pink 2CV^ had been a customer's dream for years, we built the pickup and convertible to promote a coffee drink and the elevated pickup from SAPA was once of a sister congregation and we restored it for the 2CV Museum.
Our neighbor, a contractor, wanted to downsize in 2003, so we were able to rent the warehouse next to us. 120m2 additional. We immediately put in a first floor and transformed it into our showroom. More and more beautiful 2CVs came in, which we could now display properly and dry. By the way, our office was still a picnic bench.
We regularly found unique cars in Holland and abroad. Brand new, like the white one in the Carcoon car cover and a red one that still had the paper on the roof. We bought it from a German who bought two at the same time in 1990. He had ridden one, he wanted to spare the other from that fate. I also found a yellow 2CV, my favorite color, in a garden under a tarp. The seller said that it may have had something to do with James Bond, the car was said to have been used in For Your Eyes Only. I bought it and later it turned out to be true; the most famous 2CV in the world!
Our neighbor, the contractor, went bankrupt unfortunateely and we were given the opportunity to rent the entire building. 500m2 building and a lot of outdoor space. This allowed us to set up a much larger workshop, the welding department remained in the rear workshop. And finally we had an office and a large warehouse.
If you develop a hobby, this requires appropriate transportation. So my horse got a beautiful classic horse box, a HY Heuliez from '73. I found it in grey and green in the Rhône Valley. In the dashboard was a brochure for a luxury version with wooden sides; I wanted that too, and in its original color Gris Metalissée. You can see the result on the pictures. For years it attracted a lot of attention on the road, we had such fun with it. Since then, many HYs have passed by for trade and restoration.
After meeting someone I now call a good friend, I went to visit him to see his Citroëns. He hadn't told us what he had, so when I entered the warehouse and saw 16 M35s on racks, my jaw dropped. Long story short; they came to Wormer and we found new owners for them. There is much more to tell about it, you can read it on our site
Shortly after the start, Matthijs joined me as accountant, cleaner and transporter. His brother Will, in addition to his own work, increasingly came to fix cars. My brother Freek also worked in the workshop for a while, before he started selling original Citroën parts with his own company NOS 2CV. You can still find him at every fair. Robin, Pieter, Armen and Richard also came along as welders, the latter staying for more than 10 years before starting his own business. The garage was often a springboard for the next adventure, Ramon worked with us and then started his famous Ducks United (LINK) in Ibiza, where he still rents out ducks. It also worked the other way around, his mechanic Harm came to work for us later. Eng Bo, who fell into the bucket of 2cv knowledge at the age of eleven, completed our team. My father Ab oversaw it all from his own small workshop where he worked on his clocks after his retirement. He regularly drove around the Netherlands to pick up and deliver things.
At Citromobile 2012 he showed his electric 2CV, later we met again and he invited me to drive his 2cv Électrique. Outcome; awesome! The silence and power really convinced me. A conversation arose which revealed that he was looking for someone who could build the cars around his electrical conversion. We had found each other. Because the time was not yet ripe for electric classics and we wanted to develop a really good model together, Ruben came to work for me. He started screwing 2CVs together and in the meantime we dreamed of and designed on the next generation 2CV Électrique.
Our 500m2 became a bit too small for all the work we got in. We also had plans to do more with H-vans and electric 2CVs. So we first looked at whether we could add a section to the existing garage. That turned out not to be very efficient. Then we looked around to see if we could find something bigger nearby.
Literally around the corner, a building had been for sale for a long time, but from the outside we had never seen how big it was and what potential it had. We arranged a tour, which led to quite a few surprises. It turned out to be 3 buildings connected to each other, with a total of 3250 m2. We immediately saw the potential, did the math and decided to buy the property.
Het voorste gedeelte met kantoren werd geheel leeg gesloopt en verbouwd tot toonzaal. De entree kreeg een glazen vitrine, de gevel werd vriendelijker door hem met hout te betimmeren. De grote loods erachter verbouwden we tot werkplaats en magazijn. Er kwam een flinke verdiepingsvloer in en stellingen voor kratten en auto’s in 3 lagen.
Ook kwamen er veel meer hefbruggen en werkplaatsjes die we maakten van de wanden uit de kantoren. We probeerden zoveel mogelijk materiaal opnieuw te gebruiken.
De entree van de werkplaats kwam aan de achterkant, daar rijd je dan langs de laswerkplaats. Aan de andere kant is er nog een flinke ruimte die we als opslag gebruiken en deels verhuurd wordt. Ook 2cv Électrique heeft nu een plek binnen de garage, als shop-in-shop.
Elke dag als we het licht aanknippen kijken we weer trots rond. Wat is het mooi geworden! In de video onderaan deze pagina kun je het in vogelvlucht bekijken.
After six months of designing, constructing and welding, the building was ready to house all the stuf, cars and people from Eendrachtstraat and to put the workshops into use. Everything was moved by lugging it around, on trailers, pallet trucks, in vans and on forklift trucks. Later we looked at the old building in disbelief; How did it all fit in?
Hilke came in as a help and made a career in assembly, Anne came to learn how to weld, Laurens screwed together chassis, Tien first came to count bolts and then invoices. The guys from the Eendrachtstraat also remained faithful to screwing and welding. More recently, a young generation came to learn and supplement our knowledge, Lars is working more and more on EV, Bram and Bas enjoy fixing cars and parts, other Lars does the welding and Sierk can do both. Eric works on gearboxes, Kristel takes care of everything that needs to be arranged around the workshop and Hans is our concierge and drives around to pick up all kinds of things for us. Father Ab also regularly walks around enjoying himself. Some have now moved to a position elsewhere or moved to Sweden, but the lunch table is often filled with 10+ people. Great!
Sommigen zijn ondertussen naar een functie elders of Zweden gegaan, maar evengoed is de lunchtafel vaak met 10+ gevuld. Gezellig!
After years of dreaming and drawing, it was finally there; our 2cvE, with 17kWh of used batteries and a modern engine from a Nissan. Our old and worn-out courtesy car was given a completely new lease of life. We made it chic, with a hint to the past. Silver grey like the first A-types, hammock chairs but in leather. It drove great. The time was right, it was very well received by our customers, at trade fairs and in the newspaper. Yet we had the feeling that the concept had more potential.
With the first 2cvE the battery is in the trunk, with limited space so not that many kWh. In our dreams we saw the space in the chassis as a carrier for batteries. After a search, we found batteries that fit in the chassis, allowing us to position the center of gravity perfectly and suddenly incorporate 27kWh or more. By using high voltage we can also charge faster, even with CCS. In the meantime, approximately 25 2CVs, Dyane's, Ami's, Mehari's and vans have been built with it. And we continue to build and develop.
We had previously restored an original Dutch Sahara. In 2020 we took on another Dutch one. Once employed by Rijkswaterstaat, one of three that were ever delivered here. We also built another one for a foreign customer at the same time and had two for sale. We overhaul the technical components ourselves, rebuild the bodies and panels and recreate the specific parts. More of these unique two-engine cars followed.
Another dream was to one day make the spartan HY easy to drive and modernise it. We took out the noisy engine and 3-speed gearbox, had modern driveshafts made, added power brakes, power steering and disc brakes and built in an electric drivetrain. The result; a great driving classic bus with approximately 300km range and CCS fast charger. We have already built a number of them as bus, pickup, camper and mobile atelier.
And then suddenly 25 years have passed. Children are grown up, hair has turned grey, thousands of cars have been sold, repaired and restored. And the fun hasn't diminished! We still enjoy beautiful jobs, wonderful stories, the fun among ourselves in the workshop and of course the customers for whom we fix something simple or build something spectacular. Thank you for the trust, shared ideas and dreams realised together. Will the next 25 years fly by like this as well?
Fly along with us through our workshops and showroom